Team Astana to Hunt for Tour Stage Wins After Jani Brajkovic Loses Time

Michael Hatamoto@MhatamotoContributor IIIJuly 7, 2012

Jani Brajkovič (image courtesy of Team Astana)
Jani Brajkovič (image courtesy of Team Astana)

Stage 6 of the 2012 Tour de France wasn’t a good day for a large portion of the peloton, including several prominent general classification (GC) riders, with crashes and lost time weighing heavily on the riders.

Team Astana will likely shift gears and look for individual stage wins after Jani Brajkovic finished more than two minutes down from the main peloton today. 

Here is what Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli said (via Team Astana website):

“That’s the Tour for you; we know it and we have got to live with stages like this as well. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of getting stuck in the middle of the bunch at the worst possible time. I know it is hard to spend more than four hours near the front and sit on the wheels, but if you want to compete in the GC that is what you have to do. We will learn from this mistake and make sure it is not repeated. The first mountain stage takes place tomorrow, which is the perfect terrain for Jani and the whole team to make up quickly for lost time. We want to play a major role in the finish at La Planche des Belles Filles.”

Expect the pace to be fast tomorrow leading up to the first climb of the day, with riders hoping to stay near the front and away from trouble.

To believe Brajkovic was a race favorite would have been a bit too optimistic, but he currently serves as team captain alongside Alexandre Vinokourov.  The Slovenian is a skilled rider, past winner of the Criterium du Dauphine and Slovenia National Time Trial Champion, with a good climbing and time trial skill set.

On the bright side, I expect both Brajkovic and Vino to go out on the attack and try to pick up at least one stage win—Brajkovic is a talented rider, and Vino is aggressive and has a never-say-die attitude.   

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